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Gig Report - Life is Drama @ Tailgaters (Bollingbrook)


(@tommy-guns)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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This past weekend my band LIFE IS DRAMA played at Tailgaters (Bollingbrook). This is the first time we've played here. Tailgaters is a HUGE room!! On Friday nights they schedule first time bands, its a FREE SHOW and they count how many come out to see you. I think bands do this until they start getting a following and then they become a Saturday night “headlining” band and then there's a cover charge!! Tailgaters also have national acts that come through on a regular basis. I saw Skid Row here last fall, Lita Ford has played here, Y&T, and Stryper & Vanilla Ice have gigs coming up. Unless you have about 600ppl in this place it doesn't look full. I think we had about 100ppl there but it's hard to tell in a space that big.

I was the first to arrive, load in was behind the stage and there's a loading ramp for a semi to pull up and unload if you had that much gear to load in. The stage was HUGE, my amp didn't take up much space at all. You probably really had to look for it back there :) I almost didn't have long enough cords to go from my pedal board back to my amp. They had a full sound system and lights and the sound guy was super cool!! This night I added some sleeve tattoos to my “look”. They're basically nylons with tattoos painted on them, so I'm up there all tatt'd up Friday night with wristbands on so you couldn't see the end of the sleeve. Let me tell you...these things hold in body HEAT!!! I was just sweating like crazy up there!!! I need to bring a fan next time I wear them. They looked pretty cool, even though I'm dark skinned and these were lighter than my natural skin my friends STILL did a double take like “when did you get all ink'd up”??

We got all set up and we were supposed to play a 90min set between 8pm-10pm so we were going to start at 8:30 but the sound guy wasn't ready yet so we started late which allowed the crowd to build up more. There was one group of girls in the back right corner who were celebrating something, they were getting LOUD back there before we started & I could see them dancing and singing along back there all night!! :) A lot of the tables that we could see from the stage were full which was cool!! During sound check the drums sounded absolutely HUGE...like STADIUM HUGE!!! That was pretty cool!!! But once we started playing the stage volume wasn't bad at all, I had to turn my amp up a little but nothing was overpowering.

I thought we played well & there were a couple of off moments during the night. It was weird to have a hot spotlight on me when I was playing my solos (that was a first). I tried to move around a bit more but I couldn't hear my amp when I walked towards the drum riser, anytime I was outside my “cone” I couldn't hear myself. It took some time before we had a pretty good crowd on the dance floor singing and dancing along and once we did our bass player got off the stage a couple of times and into the crowd . He tried to get me to come out but w/o my in ear monitors I couldn't hear myself and when I can't hear myself my mistakes just multiply which HERE at Tailgaters...I wasn't about to take that risk. We had my friend take pics which will be up on my Facebook page as well as the band's. After we were finished & I was just hanging out w/friends someone came up to me and said my “solos were AWESOME tonight”!!! That was COOL and hasn't happened in a while. :)

Our next show is THIS FRIDAY Fri 5/11 @ Shark City (2240 Bloomingdale Rd, Glendale Heights). We're opening for Hal Sparks (a comedian who has a band called “Zero 1”) so hopefully we can pick up some NEW FANS this Friday night!!!
Thanks for reading and all the great comments!!! KEEP ROCKIN' !!!!

Tommy Gunz

Ambition is the path to success...persistence is the vehicle you arrive in!!!


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 cnev
(@cnev)
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You weren't trying to pick up Goth chicks with those tattied sleeves were you? Funny they book the up and coming bands for Fridays those are usually the best bar nights Saturdays are usually less cuz it's date night.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@tommy-guns)
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LOL!!! No, not trying to pick up Goth chicks!!! :) Do they like those?? I think here Fri nights are a little lighter than Sat nights at Tailgaters b/c everyone is getting off work. They've been around a LONG TIME so they know thier crowds. You know you're an Upper Tier band when you're headlining a Sat night here. Hopefully we can open on a Sat night for sometime!!! ;)

Ambition is the path to success...persistence is the vehicle you arrive in!!!


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(@danlasley)
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Wow that's fantastic!

Next time you're on a big stage without your 'ears, ask the sound guy to put you in the monitors during your solos (or all the time if it doesn't annoy the singer). If they have multiple monitor sends, maybe they can just put you in one monitor somewhere so you can wander around.

You were right to stay in your "cone of loudness". 8)


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 cnev
(@cnev)
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Hey Tommy, on the Big Bang Theory, the guys put on those sleeves and went to a Goth bar to pick up chicks. They ended up chickening out when they went to get real tattoo's.

I guess every bar is different but around here and in the bars I worked in Friday is always the bigger night. There a few of the bigger places that do well on both nights but Friday is when people get paid and want to party, by Saturday they are burnt out from the night before.

Sounds like you guys are getting a lot of shows that's good.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@tommy-guns)
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Thanks Laz!!! I will ask them to do that next time. First time here and with all the professional feel being on that stage I really just concentrated on playing well!!! :)

Cnev: LOL!! Thats funny about the tattoos. I'm thinking about getting a tattoo, my wife doesn't like the "full sleeve" look but I told her "it gave me an edge while playing Friday night"...she just rolled her eyes. She doesn't mind if I get one which is cool. As far as crowds here on Fri/Sat night I think it depends on the bar. At JW Holsteins there's ALWAYS a BIG crowd on Friday night b/c its "FREE PIZZA FRIDAYS" where you get free pizza until 10pm. There the pizza crowd leaves during the first set and the "party crowd" comes in till 12:30am. When we played Shakers he said his BIG crowd is on Sat nights so when we booked our 2nd gig there on a Friday night in March he called our booking agent and said he wanted us on a Sat night so we pushed the date back to April so we could play a Sat night.

What I've been seeing the past couple of years is that groups of people go to multiple bars in the area on Fri/Sat nights and then they start texting each other to say how the crowd/band/party is where they are and then they either come to YOUR bar or they leave to go to another one (the power of technology)!!! So, we've made some adjustments to our sets by putting VERY POPULAR dance/sing a long songs in the beginning of the night. This band hasn't seen this much success before and I credit that to bringing Jason (bass player) into the band who is a real extrovert as well as myself (more introverted but MUCH MORE business sense). We've replaced a lot of songs that they used to play (alternative) and brought in a lot of "standards" that we KNOW go over well with the female crowds (thats who you REALLY need to win over)!!!

We've been REALLY "blessed" to have been "working" as much as we have. Its been EASY for our booking agent to book us 2-3 times a month which is harder than you might think, but when you're pulling crowds w/100+ppl it makes it easy!!! NOW the REAL test is coming up!! Summer crowds (Memorial Day-Labor Day weekends) are so thin that MANY bars don't have bands during the summer and all the bands clamour for Festival slots which are VERY difficult to get. We didn't get any this summer and we only had 1 last summer. We'll see what kind of crowds we get this summer, HOPEFULLY we can get into some of the LARGER bars/clubs now that the BIGGER bands in the area are all playing the festivals (fingers crossed) :)

Ambition is the path to success...persistence is the vehicle you arrive in!!!


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 cnev
(@cnev)
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Tommy you are absolutely correct about pleasing the women they're the ones that get the guys there and there the ones that usually start the dancing etc.

I have been telling the guys in the band that too as we play more heavier music. I'm afraid we need to change or set lists but we are just starting and recently changed guitar players so there has been a learning curve. We have our first "real" gig and when I say real I mean we have 3 full sets of music for a private party coming up on Memorial weekend. Right now there are about 80 people that are going so it should be a good time. We also have a local bar that has a slot for us next week but I think we'll pass on that so we can concentrate on Memorial day.

From some of the songs I've heard you guys play you play way more pop type stuff, defintely more danceable we'll have to see how this all plays out as much as I know the Katy Perry stuff might get the women up dancing I don't think we'll ever be playing that kind of stuff.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@tommy-guns)
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Not so much Katy Perry but try these out!! These are the "standards" every band should know. EVERY coverband in the Chicago area plays these songs (most have a female singer).

Summer of '69 - Byran Adams
Jennie 867-5309 - Tommy Tutone
Jessie's Girl - Rick Springfield
All Summer Long - Kid Rock
Raise Your Glass - Pink
Don't Stop Believing - Journey (we play "Any Way You Want It")
Livin On A Prayer - Bon Jovi
You Give Love A Bad Name - Bon Jovi
Its My Life - Bon Jovi
Just A Girl - No Doubt
Nothing But A Good Time - Poison
Talk Dirty To Me - Poison
Save A Horse - Big & Rich
Crazy B*itch - Buckcherry

Add these to your set list and mix in the other stuff you do (as long as its popular) & you'll get repeat gigs, bras thrown up on stage etc!!! :)

Good Luck!!!

Ambition is the path to success...persistence is the vehicle you arrive in!!!


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(@jkracecrazy)
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Thanks for the props tommy but I wouldn't call myself an extrovert I call myself an idiot.i can't stand still and play I actually keep rythm in how I move kinda like angus young from acdc does.i can't stand and just tap my foot it just doesn't work for me lol.plus I play better with audience involvement. I have to say the last 6 months have been a riot jamming with you on stage and seeing the progress we have made as a band. I look forward to seeing how far we can take this thing. The momentum is really good right now let's how we can keep it going.


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(@moonrider)
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I tried to move around a bit more but I couldn't hear my amp when I walked towards the drum riser, anytime I was outside my “cone” I couldn't hear myself.
Tommy Gunz

Some things that may help you in this situation:

1) Multiple monitor mixes. We run 3 - "Stage right," "Stage left," and "Drummer" I'm usually set up on stage left, and that monitor usually has little or no lead guitar in it, since my amp covers that side of the stage. The other two *always* has the lead guitar in it since I'll use "cue licks" to signal when a lead is about to end - and they need to be able to hear me. It also means that I can hear myself if I go "walkabout"

2) Side fill. On REALLY big stages (We're talking arena size - but this can be scaled down too) I'll break out "Ampzilla" (120 watt Peavey Duel 212) and set up a 4x12 cab firing across the stage from stage right (remember, I'm at stage left) to give a "fill" in the spots where the monitors don't cover.

Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

Moondawgs on Reverbnation


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(@tommy-guns)
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Thanks for the suggestions Moonrider!!! I just got another cord for my in-ear monitors so I think I'm going to try that again at our next gig. I'm determined to get those going :D

Ambition is the path to success...persistence is the vehicle you arrive in!!!


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